ARCHIVED - 1. Context

WarningThe Standard on Web Usability replaces this content. This content is archived because Common Look and Feel 2.0 Standards have been rescinded.

Archived Content

Information identified as archived is provided for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. It is not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards and has not been altered or updated since it was archived. Please contact us to request a format other than those available.

Page 3 of 10

1.1.  Community Studies

In 2005, the Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages initiated a series of studies and activities aimed at better understanding the issues affecting the vitality of official language communities. After conducting an environmental scan of the research and community vitality evaluation practices1, it initiated studies of vitality indicators in three Francophone minority communities.

The research program aims to shed light on the community context in the aftermath of the amendments to the Official Languages Act of Canada that Parliament adopted in November 2005. These amendments gave federal institutions greater responsibilities for enhancing the vitality of official language communities. While the communities are very much aware of this right, they are concerned with the challenges they face in enhancing their vitality. To support development and vitality, the communities themselves, along with the institutions, must establish the major factors for vitality, find ways to take action for development and measure the changes over time.

Three Francophone minority communities were chosen for this study: Winnipeg, Manitoba; Sudbury, Ontario; and Halifax, Nova Scotia2. The study of each community, including this one, reports on what is already being done to enhance vitality and attempts to establish evaluation indicators. As community vitality covers a wide array of factors, the Office of the Commissioner decided to first focus on four sectors: community governance, immigration, health care and access to government services. However, these sectors are bound to provide a fragmented view of vitality, which is a much broader phenomenon.

The choice of communities is based on the following rationale: we wanted to study urban Francophone reality in three regions. We selected communities with at least 10,000 Francophones, with varying demographic weights compared to the Anglophone majority. The choice of three communities within census metropolitan areas helped to draw the profile of the different urban areas where other Francophone communities live. Finally, by selecting four identical sectors for the three communities, the study was able to examine the constants and variations of one sector in different regions.


Population with French as the first official language spoken

% of the population










Source: Statistics Canada, 2001 Census

Top of Page

1.2.  Methodology

Research consultants designed and implemented the research methodology. One objective was to create community evaluation tools to serve the communities. A participatory methodology was therefore chosen and a task force composed of community members with recognized experience or expertise in the target sectors was created. Participant selection was based on local sector networks, the advice of researchers specializing in community studies and suggestions from the Office of the Commissioner. Participation was on an individual basis, and the views of participants were solely theirs and did not necessarily reflect those of their employers or host organizations. The task force focused on establishing success factors and best practices for vitality, as well as defining key evaluation indicators. Participants were able to build evaluation capacity and obtain tools to continue evaluating vitality in their communities.

First, the consultants reviewed existing literature on best practices in community vitality evaluation and made an extensive list of expected outcomes and corresponding indicators. The list served as the raw material for the task force’s study. At the first meeting, the task force first chose the expected outcomes that would ideally identify significant community vitality in the four target sectors. The outcomes were compiled into a logic model, a flow chart illustrating the connection between activities and expected outcomes over the short, medium and long term. At the second meeting, the task force selected the indicators to evaluate how well expected outcomes were met and discussed the data sources to be used for the community evaluation.

It was on the basis of this work and other data gathered on the Halifax Francophone community that the consultants then proceeded to prepare this study.


1 Johnson, Marc L., and Paule Doucet. A Sharper View: Evaluating the Vitality of Official Language Communities. Ottawa: Office of the Commissioner of Official Languages of Canada, 2006.

2 This first series of studies on vitality indicators includes two other community studies: The Winnipeg Francophone Community and The Sudbury Francophone Community.

Previous page

Table of contents

Next page